A new and exciting year lies ahead! We want you to achieve all your financial goals in 2024 so we’ve listed the 10 money habits of successful wealth builders. Start small and pick just 5 of them and you’ll become a better money manager and take control of your finances this year.
1. Update your budget at the beginning of each month
Make your budget a living document that you check in with once a month! Update income and expenses for the month, make sure you have all your costs covered and your budget balanced.
2. Balance your budget once a week
Keep records of what you spend and any debit orders or other payments you make each week and track them against your budget. This will help you keep your budget on track and pick up if you are over or underspending! And you'll be able to adjust your budget so that you don't overspend before your cash runs out and debts mount up!
Top tip: Truth About Money’s short course Cash Crunch will teach you how to draw up a budget and cut expenses so that you never run out of money at the end of the month.
3. Read a personal finance blog every week
Why not find a personal finance blog and read it, most of these can be read in under 5 minutes. A good blog to start is the Truth About Money blog, and you can also look at the personal finance pages of your favourite newspaper or online news service.
4. Have a monthly money talk with your family
Check in with your loved ones and have a monthly money chat! Ask if there are any expenses coming up such as birthday parties and school activities so you can add them to the budget, or chat about ways to make them more affordable. If you need to, you can also ask for ideas on where to cut expenses or even earn more income. Talk about your financial goals and share how any investments and savings you have are growing. This is a great time to bond with the family and teach your children good money management skills.
5. Listen to a personal finance podcast on the way to work
Take your pick of local and international money podcasters and find a few that you can relate to. Listen to their advice, ideas and money management tips and you too can be a pro money manager! Ask your financial adviser if he or she has any recommendations or start with Gerald Mwandiambira’s What they don’t want you to know about money and Lisa Linfield’s Working Women's Wealth. Your favourite radio station may also podcast, such as 702’s The Money Show with Bruce Whitfield. For international podcasts, start with Investopedia’s list. Spotify, Acast and Apple, as well as other podcast platforms, will also list personal finance podcasts.
6. Catch up with your favourite YouTuber every week
Local financial experts such as Mulalo Nemataheni and Nicolette Mashila’s Financial Bunny have YouTube channels with regular videos that will help you become a smart money manager and grow your wealth!
7. Meet with your financial adviser every six months
Take along your budget so your financial adviser can cast an objective eye over it and suggest ways to save, such as reducing certain expenses. You should also review your insurance contracts and savings and investments. Make sure your insurance policies still meet your needs and update where necessary, such as increasing a sum assured or adding a new beneficiary on your life insurance policy. And, discuss your investments, including your goals, returns and performance, as well as your fees.
8. Check your credit score four times a year
Your credit score is based on your credit record and is an indication of how well you manage debt. If it increases or decreases by a high number such as 50+ points and you have not taken on credit or missed payments, investigate why there is a change as there may be identity fraud, which is when a criminal takes credit in your name for their gain. You can check your credit record and score on Experian, TransUnion and ClearScore.
9. Find the specials at the shops
Your favourite grocery store will have flyers advertising their specials at the entrance, and many advertise in local papers and online, and in those emails they send you! Skim through them so you know where to buy the best priced groceries when you shop.
Top tip: If you think you may need a new fridge or washing machine in a few months, or perhaps even a new home, it is a great idea to start checking prices now so that you know a good bargain when you see it.
10. Chat with your money buddy once a month
Set up a monthly coffee date with your money buddy so you can check in and see how they are doing and chat about any money management ideas or problems you have.
Bonus tip: Review one personal contract every month
List all your contracts, such as employment, gym, cell phone, credit cards, home and car loans, car maintenance plans and insurance, personal loans, store cards and rental agreements. Schedule one day a month to review one contract. For example, start with your employment contract and check your salary details, employee benefit details such as group cover, and leave balances.
Contracts have important terms and conditions, so make sure you understand these and contact your provider if you don’t. Make sure all your personal details are up to date. For any credit agreements keep an eye on the fees charged and the interest you are paying.
Top tip: You should also review your loyalty programmes twice a year. Log into your account to see what rewards you have due, when you need to use them by and how you can earn more rewards or points.
Become a successful wealth builder!
Are you ready to take on the challenge and become a successful wealth builder? Make just some of these a habit in 2024 and you’ll see an improvement in your money management skills – and bank balance – by December!